Merry Christmas! Orthodox Christmas Service in Moscow

From Sputnik:

Orthodox Christians in Russia celebrate Christmas on January 7. There is a 40-day Lent preceding Christmas Day. On the eve of the significant event, orthodox observers attend liturgies in churches all over the country that last well into the early hours of the morning.
The main mass in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior is led by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, the Head of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Commentary is provided by Sergei Brun, academic fellow at the Museum of the Russian Icon in Moscow, and RT journalist Daniel Bushell.

Silent Night

This beautiful Christmas carol originated in Austria, in the small town of Oberndorf bei Salzburg, where it was composed by Franz Xaver Gruber set to lyrics by Joseph Mohr. The year of composition has been given as 1818–almost exactly 200 years ago. Silent Night has been recorded by a large number of singers and performers , and in 2011 was declared an expression of “intangible cultural heritage” by UNESCO.

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The Little Drummer Boy

The Little Drummer Boy was written by Katherine Kennicott Davis in 1941. Davis was a school teacher, pianist and classical music composer. Born in St. Joseph, Missouri in 1892, she attended Wellesley College and the New England Conservatory of Music; she taught music at the Concord Academy in Concord, Massachusetts, and at the Shady Hill School for Girls in Philadelphia.

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Away in a Manger

It is not clear who wrote the lyrics to “Away in a Manger,” but the musical score is credited to composers William J. Kirkpatrick and James R. Murray. The song was first published in the late 19th century and is believed to have originated uniquely in America. It has become one of the most popular Christmas carols of all time. This version is by Casting Crowns and was included in their 2008 album, “Peace on Earth.”

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Russian Church Vows to Rebuild Christian Syria

[ Ed. note – The video above contains Russian Christmas music. I thought it very fitting to post given the news which appeared yesterday on the Russian Faith website–namely that the Russian Orthodox Church has vowed to help Christian communities in Syria rebuild. The war in Syria has in some respects been a war against Christianity.

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